Why social media outlets encourage you to become a better individual

A relatively recent feature posted to a news site (Slashdot?)  said that as we submit new posts to social media outlets (e.g: Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, StackExchange, Slashdot, YouTube, Deviant Art - possibly also the Freenode IRC chat network), we tend to become addicted to how many likes/upvotes/etc. we get, adapt our future posting strategy to maximise them,  and as a result lose our identity and individuality.

My argument here is that that's not a bug, but a feature, and it is a positive addiction that allows you to adapt and improve your online writing (a.k.a "blogging") to the general audience, and, as a result, become a more interesting, more competent, and — a more *able* person.

What do I mean by «able»? The same thing that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Marx meant when he said «From each according to his abilities — to each according to his needs.». While this seems noble and compassionate on the surface, common sense tells us that since we have a shortage of people’s time and of many other natural and man-made resources, we should encourage people to be more able and produce more or just earn more money, while to hopefully reduce their needs to a minimum (see for example Paul Graham’s «Stuff» essay - http://www.paulgraham.com/stuff.html ).

Otherwise, people will just inflate their needs, while not caring about becoming more able, which will cause a long-term disaster, and there are many past and present very able people who had an incredibly humble if not disadvantaged start. See what I wrote about "Buffy is not a nobody": https://plus.google.com/+ShlomiFish/posts/dDJwvtcGE5N and previously about Captain Nemo, whose name means "nobody" in Latin: http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/philosophy/putting-all-cards-on-the-table-2013/#seize_opportunities .

Some people end up more advantaged than others due to birth ( e.g: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Hilton ), luck ( e.g: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Watson or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Aragon ), which is certainly not the same as chance, but many able and successful people are simply persistent, hard-working (which is quite the opposite of being a "I'm too busy" wage slave, see http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/philosophy/putting-all-cards-on-the-table-2013/#laziness_vs_productivity ), resourceful, and seize the right opportunities, e.g: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Lawrence or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whoopi_Goldberg .

Back to the topic, upvotes, reputation points, "karma points", "experience points", positive replies or even negative replies are a low-cost, Internet-based, subtitute for money or for fame, esteem, peer repute, awards, recognition, or other aspects of human life that make a person feel big and important (to paraphrase on the excellent book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People , which should still be taken with a grain of salt). Most people won't care to hear whether you are writing Perl code or Python code right now (which was the original stated purpose of Twitter, which Miley Cyrus aptly criticised in her song: http://www.metrolyrics.com/twitter-lyrics-miley-cyrus.html ), but people will appreciate experiencing posts that make them happier, smarter, or wiser, or otherwise feel better about themselves.

And that's what most of the Internet social media has become - they are low-cost, and mostly low-risk, tools for you to become more popular, and with a very good correlation - more able. And if you really want to, you can likely do that, whatever your current strengths or vices are. And even if you don't become number 1, you'll have a great time trying to.

Seize the day!

#Internet #SocialMedia #Psychology #SelfImprovement #SelfGrowth #NewAge  
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